Thursday, March 30, 2006

what is the function of this?

Some people really do put it all on the table - well I'm not one of them. This blog will not contain detail about every aspect of my life. Partly because of privacy issues with the internet and partly because it isn't very interesting for others to know the real minutiae of others lives sometimes. Nonetheless the question is still there - what are blogs for? A lot of people I have chatted with about the idea here express a lot of suspicion, even disapproval about the idea, as did my Father who has a seemingly dismissive approach to the idea of blogging. Those who are suspicious seem to wonder why one would commit musings to screen. But we all have an internal dialogue and this can be augmented and altered, observed and learned from if parts of it are externalised. Just like a diary - yes, but of course diaries aren't public. As for the dismissives among you, like Dad and another mate of mine who while having his own blog felt like criticising mine for being 'ashtanga centred', all I can say is 'so what?'.

Had another day of low level but continuous mental stimulation from various acts of selling, including trying to keep the bosses in line about this business idea - there seems to be a third hand in the equation, perhaps another external consultant, who is pulling opinion away from the discussion I want to have. NNNggggg! Won't let it happen.

As forecast, practice good, feeling strong, straight leg jump throughs and hand planted firmly on the floor too. There are incremental improvements almost every time I practice at the moment. That is a surprising state of affairs. Also getting a lot less sweaty too which is partly the cooler weather now but also a function of physical exertion too. Arms and shoulders a lot stronger, and mental approach also different even to a few weeks ago. Just letting myself do it, almost like letting the practice happen through me in a wierd kind of way. Reminding me of Foucault, discourse and power but this of course thankfully is not an intellectual realm. Yoga is the antithesis of intellect. CC asked, genuinely, having never really examined the concept, the other day over dinner 'what is enlightenment?' How's that for low key banter over the evening meal.

Have recently downloaded a lot of british techno sets from pete tong et al. They are awesome. The only problem is that listening to them makes me want to go out clubbing. Very much. Secretly trying to come up with an excuse for a holiday in Sydney and thus reason to go mad with dance music and all attendant niceties.....not very yogic, and definitely hard to recover from but a SHIT LOAD of fun! This is definitely the bit of me that is easily persuaded to do things addictively. I'm amazed frankly that I never ended up a total junkie at uni or wherever. There is definitely that characteristic lurking - risk taking, hedonistic etc. But the other side knows how hard the recovery can be and I think this is what has always kept me in check. Focusing on yoga allows that voice a greater say, allows more awareness of the need for this base and consequently I view it as the good side, where I know how to care for myself. But there's nothing wrong with breaking the rules big style now and then. I guess the trip to India will have to take in some Sydney time maybe at either end.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

the man from Delmonte...

Well, they went for it at the winery, at least they went for the idea of a trial anyway. So this means I gotta come up with a plan now and also actually do some work too! Mum made very good suggestion of getting set up as a sole trader so that all expenses etc can be put through as income vs tax...good thinking Mum! Still a little wet behind the ears....

Also went to the point of buying a diary the other day because I nearly missed an appointment. AP laughed at me and said that her filofax from London days was 'emptied of pages and used only as a wallet nowadays'. I said I hoped it was at least full of cash.23c apparently. So, now have diary, will soon have company structure in place and should also sort out car and some nicer clothes too as need to present coherent adult like image to the world...sound familiar? How the fuck did I manage to sound like Bridget Jones just then?

Reading a cool thriller by Jose Latour about a Cuban American escaping to Florida - very slick, cool hero, the pages almost redolent of the heat and humidity of Havana and Miami.

Energy good, went to G and A's yesterday for dinner before which we did a practice. First time I did the jump through with nearly straight legs, which was a surprise as wasn't aiming for it. A hard floor really helps. Also feeling steadier in headstand and connecting pretty well with the lower tum bundhas in that position too. Satisfying. Feels like the knee is improving - I think I was pretty close to screwing it big time the other day. Lucky to get away with it being stiff for a month. In the meantime am managing to bind around left knee in Marichi B which is something I thought would never happen, and even starting to see Marichi D coming into view. Its all in the attitude.....

Tomorrow practice at Warwick Road, looking forward to that and the next few days - or weeks. Feels good. The power of yoga is an amazing thing, truly divine. I love it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

what is ashtanga like in Hawkes Bay?

Must say I have enjoyed reading a few yoga blogs recently, although I do wonder about some people's need to put everything on the table. Or maybe it just looks like everything...

One good one is which appears to me to be authentic and certainly not contrived for an audience. Another is which is similarly genuine, and written from the heart. I can relate to these guys - at least in blogging terms anyway. When I figure out how to post links on this damn template they'll be there. Both these dudes live in SF and unsuprisingly the scene there is fairly busy - with lots of different shalas, huge numbers of people doing ashtanga, let alone other types of yoga like Iyengar, Bikram, Kundalini etc and other associated activities like Pranayama meditation, Sanskrit studying and so on.

This brought to my mind the idea of describing the ashtanga environment here in Hawkes Bay, NZ. I had begun to practice regularly about 6 months before arriving here but had not really got to the point where I had a coherent practice of my own. This was because I had been fairly mobile and thus unable to attend a mysore or led practice regularly. However, upon arriving here I pretty much made it a priority to find a regular base in which to practice, particularly since I was sharing a house and practicing at home was not viable. I happened on the group of people who constitute ashtanga yoga here fairly easily. There are only about 30 people who I would say practice regularly - this in an area with a population of around 100,000. Most are women which doesn't surprise me since there is no big gay population and a lot of NZ men (and others) are pretty resistant to the idea of anything called yoga. This estimate is based on how many people have attended Peter Sanson workshops here. Anyone who is keen will have been since it is essentially the only outside influence we get. Practice locations are organised by BW, who has practiced for over 15 years, and supervised by him and sometimes SH or my mate KS, both women in their 40s with families. So a typical week for me is practice at location in Hastings on Monday pm, then another practice at a different Hastings location Thursday pm. Neither are purpose astanga locations though they are both ok. They are certainy cheap, self practice in either costs $10 for regulars. On a Saturday am one can go to Napier to practice in the Community Centre though recently I have favoured practice at home as Napier is 25 mins drive. So I practice 3 or sometimes 4 days a week. This will increase, I can feel it.

Workshops are thus very important in terms of the chance to absorb yoga from a teacher if one is looking for that side of progression in the practice. Of course there is the social side of things, predictably tending towards the vegetarian, teetotal sort of stuff. Often centered around the workshops these can be a good chat over the espresso after practice or dinner at someone's house or a restaurant (average Indian, cause average is all there is round here). Nonetheless the social element is important and for me at least is a very good reason to be doing it, though I really feel like I would do it even if I knew no-one at a given Shala and never got to know them. Because of the quiet nature of life in NZ it is easier to put something like ashtanga in a central position in your life. The temptation to put energy into the 'bar scene' such as it is or other similar life styles is minimal to non existent for me. These aspects of life here hold little appeal because of their limited sophistication and relative banality. Sound snobby? Well, I can say that of course my perspective is influenced by having travelled, lived and worked in some pretty decent cities of the world - Capetown and London both spring to mind as well as SF, Paris, Berlin too - but it isnt really this. I would go out to bars and restaurants here if they were any good even though I don't currently drink very much. They are simply dull and its more fun to socialise in other contexts as a result. So, NZ is quiet, which is a good thing, and Hawkes Bay exemplifies that. Thus all the people to whom ashtanga is important probably appreciate both sides of the 'NZ is dull' argument from where we are.

Having said all that, it would be lovely to have an ashtanga dedicated space. There is a yoga room in Napier but the woman who runs it is not interested in wholly including astanga. Other options or possibilities have not been adopted and investigated by anyone - you need a lot of ashtangis to make a dedicated space viable. Shame. Like I said, it would be nice. Some well lit, warm, quiet rooms with neutral colours, a hard floor, comfortable changing and shower facilities, a welcoming but smart, cool, funky feel. Would be bliss of course. Would also put the price up. But hey, folks pay a fortune for gym memberships and stuff round here so it can't be impossible. There is no reason why further on down the line I might not want to get involved in trying to set this kind of thing up. We need a primo yoga teacher to come here. Peter Sanson would be perfect!

Hopefully that gives a flavour. If it doesn't I'll try to flesh it out later. In the meantime I would love to hear how others in simialr situations have seen things develop over time. Any suggestions welcomed!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

couple 'a good ones

Practices that is. weather's turned to shit all of a sudden - soggy and grey, most unlike Hawkes Bay. Tropical storm ripped into Qld a few days ago and it must be the spill over from that system, just dumping rain on these normally fairly dry plains and hills. Just like the UK.

Practice busy tonight - the Thurday class is getting back up to strength. Couple of newbies including unexpected return of my old flatmate CC who I thought would never give it a go. Well done her.

My knee slowly opening again but I must say that for such an innocuous little click the other week it sure has had a big effect - have had to seriously address the hamstring thing with alternate hot and cold compresses to try and alleviate tightness and its still there. Going slowly on that right side. So Marichis are coming, but only one sided now. A lesson in patience.

Still enjoying the wine sales, some good people through today, very outgoing, interested. A lovely Irish girl who could have easily had my heart - except there was a guy in tow. Always the way! It is satisfying to be able to explain the basics to people on the back of my (limited) winemaking knowledge. Pity it doesnt pay.

On the catering front, put an order in for small initial publicity literature, then it'll be down to me to get out there door to door and test themarket. Luckily the market is right where I live so will start locally. Guess I need to work out my sales patter. Luckily I have no problem coming up with that kind of stuff.

The anti canidida diet is underway - not very difficult actually and havent had any severe sugar withdrawal like the first time I did it. But then I was living in a different environment to say the least. Pressure, money and one hell of an unhealthy lifestyle. So, will do this for a while plus tweak a couple of other things like start to clean out the liver and then order some 3Lac and start getting into it seriously and see how bad the candida is this time round. Its just a hunch anyway so it may be mild, in which case great it will not take months to clear it out. I wonder if my mate FB in London has tried it. Someone who has got terrible health issues with no clear diagnosis. Like Sis could end up being the dreaded Candidiasis....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Night n Day

It took most of the last two weeks but my practice again felt heavenly today. Truly. Heavenly. Strong lifts, good steady energy, fun to see a few new faces in the room, beautiful linking vinyasas, heat, supple mind, deep forward bends in standing poses. Lightness reared its head breifly a few times. So nice to glimpse it. Take it a bit slower, feel that one might one day perceive Prana more clearly.

What a relief - particularly after I read through Russell's and got a really sick feeling about the type of person one might be to be dependent on ashtanga. I really asked myself if it was a dependence, an addiction of some sort. Aired that with a few friends who have relatively advanced practices here - there was some shock. I don't use the word lightly. There was. We all reflected I think. Many of us had been struggling with some retrograde palnetary stuff the last few weeks - someone mentions Mars. Anyway, I think it is over. Nasty emotions, doubts and low energy can take a back seat.

My right knee is improving as well - had some focused massage over the weekend from my great masseuse HH. She really worked on the Hamstring which was siezing up and making the whole right side of me begin to tighten. When I started astanga a little over 18 months ago it was for problems on the left side. Now tightness is on the right.

Spoke to KS today and she said that both she and our teacher here had remarked last year that they felt I was really 'going at' the practice. Maybe I was. Perhaps I was lucky not to injure myself more seriously and earlier. A littel brush with the knee thing has given me a chance to reflect, in particular and more widely, about my practice. It isnt going to disappear. It is good even if there is no progress in asanas for a while. The spiritual peace is there. It remains centering. This is the aim- health and wellbeing. This function itself is healthy. Nothing else need cloud the picture. Ashtanga people can often be slightly obsessive, compulsive, addictive types from what I have seen. Luckily we arent all hopeless drunks hanging on by a thread.

Tomorrow back to (part time) work. Over the next few weeks need to find other similar as this is temporary at I hope to combine part time work with other income to see me through to September when India beckons. By then I might have a structure for afterwards.

Yesterday did some homework for VN in the morning and then went for a stroll on Ocean Beach. It was pristine weather, 25C, no wind, scant cloud cover. Walked an hour or so down the beach and had a few hundred metres of it to myslf. Read for a while, dosed, watched surfers play in the small glassy surf. Felt some good peace.

gotta get back to it

about a week and a half ago I decided to let the career search go on hold - today it is definitely time to return to it. So far my careers have taken the following shape - leave university and stumble into a job providing tech help to French customers of Olivetti. This was a shambolic set-up baut it was good for my French. That lasted about 8 months. Next I fluked a job in the City with a big French bank and there I remained for 5 1/2 years as a Foreign Exchange Dealer. During that time we as a desk survived a merger and eventually prospered (modestly in my case but that was all I felt I needed to do). However dreams of a better life had always been present - and my health took a serious bashing too - so that eventually I left and went (with my then wife) to live in NZ, where I remain. Once there I studied a postgrad winemaking course and worked for a couple of years in that industry. Recently however I have decided that it isnt right either. So I resigned just before vintage and am now working part time for another winery. This means I need a new career. I'm doing the What Coulour is your Parachute book which is good in some ways and a little too American in others but generally helpful. But this has kind of ground to a halt. Time to reinvigorate. Thus the aim for today is to target a particular person for so called informational interviewing. One. That will be mission accomplished....also have other small missions too as usual.

Slept very heavily - for some reason living here the change of clocks seems to be much harder to adjust to than it ever was in the UK - sometimes taking three weeks - particularly at the start of summer when you lose an hour and the mornings get really dark again after a few weeks of illumination. Strange. So woke feeling doped but tea is working.

Looking at doing a Candidiasis diet again - feel subtle possible reemergence of odd symptoms. This site gives a good overview of what I'm talking about for those who are uninitiated. This was what got me into the shit healthwise in London. having talked with Sis this morning I came to the conclusion that in fact I was only a few months away from Chronic Fatigue type stuff. Leaving when I did was a good move.

Coming back to this one at the end of the day - I fixed up a meeting with the head of NZ Trade and Enterprise for next week. Sounds American which may be a help in this context of flaky career search strategies...Mission accomplished.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Managed to struggled thru paractice this morning, feels like everything is getting stiffer, not looser at the moment. Still, did it at home, kept getting interrupted by phone/mobile but was good to chat so took nearly 2 hours to do the yoga. Worth it as is nearly always the case. BW came thru with the Primary Series Poster - good to have it.

Now burning a cd for my massage therapist. Love Boards of Canada - always wanted to find that stff but only now stumbling on it - thanks iTunes....sort of. And Limewire.

Weekend is grey but still feels good to be working part time and thus know that Monday is free too. Altho getting motivated again re:parachute career search thingy - have let it go a bit since before the Peter Sanson workshop last weekend. Will re-engage and start picking random people to interview. Was actually a good meeting with CE of local Chamber of Commerce the other day - he had an easy manner and a really good overview of local economy with all its quirks and opportunities. Our view on the catering idea - looking to sell into rich 55+mkt appears to be on the right track. Just gotta manage it all right, get it started and be responsive enough. Looking forward to it - my first attempt at anything entrepreneurial. That should start to happen later next week.

Spoke to Mum and Sis for an hour or so - very pleased to hear that Sis is mulling a return to work later in the year. The road back from Chronic Fatigue is a hard one. Looks like the trip to Mysore later in the year is going to be well balanced with family visits which would be so cool - love the thought that we might get to hang out in such an unusual environment - altho for Dad it wont be as he spends so much time overseas anyway. Nonetheless, its great it might all happen, finger crossed.

Had a half Guinness yesterday round at J and M's place for St Patricks Day. Great to hear that J's business idea is really coming to fruition. She deserves it. M was back from work quite early and then I just sat and laughed as his kids jumped all over him....But vintage is kicking in now so those guys will be on the 16 hour days before too long. Pretty happy I dont have to do that this year.

Friday, March 17, 2006

ah friday

feeling really immobile in practice last night - gonna go to Iyengar his morn to try and work into some of that. Then work this avo - yesterday we had these two really gay dudes come in, brits, who were clearly loaded but not posh at all - and they bought a methusalar of the top red which i then had to stay late to prep for them (nice box etc). I got a vibe about them and when they paid it was pretty much confirmed - as the Coutts black credit card came out. Bank fo aristocrats and lottery winners. They had talked about being on a 8 month world cruise. Just the kind of thing you d owhen you've got more money than you ever imagined possible in my view. Will get confirmation from the lady who rented them some bikes....

Harvest has begun, and my god am I glad I ainy involved. The guys yesterday already looked shagged. Haha!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

ah - the other obsession

along with skype, music downloads and blogs, the main one is'the evils of advertising and how capitalism is essentially bad' but as will become clear this is also very much related to concepts of ego and what we can do about it. Look out for it.

The Ego - more under the post prandial microscope

on the subject of ashtanga, just got back from a yummy feed/business meet with mates of mine, J&K and we discussed the last weekend's yoga workshop - of course lots of gossip - but interestingly the fact that I have read so many yoga blogs recently is starting to wear off on me - and we talked about The Ego. Can it ever really diminish or does it just hide away better? We were discussing whether our yoga teacher 'has an ego' or not. well of course he does but how does it manifest itself, if it is at all visible to us. K, who has a lovely practice and is looking at progress to secondary series shortly, felt that it wasnt visible in any meaningful form. But how would we know? Sure, he doesnt order you around like an autocrat. But he seemed tired and not able to give as much as other previous classes. So maybe his ego was keeping him in check. Simplistic, yes. But how do you refute it? Fuck, I could quote endless Sanskrit at you (if i knew any) about this subject and indeed there are those who are able and do so on the web, , and even , but basically without using informed discourse such as these sages base their opinions on, it all comes down to what is a gradual attempt over many lifetimes to divesting oneself of the ego that seems to materialise in ourselves around the age of 15 or 16. This is based on what VN told me the other day about ego formation and also the recommended age below which one does not practice ashtanga. Making any sense?

cold feet and a lazy breakfast

lots happening but none of it very early which gave me a chance as usual to sample some nice tunes (thanks pod) and have a light brekkie - before getting another set of quotes for this little business idea we are exploring (thats me and a couple of friends). I do the marketing they do the creating. thats the sort of deal we have. then have to work a half day today at a winery here, which will last for a few weeks. then need to get something else. determined at the moment not to be a slave to someone else. luckily dont need to either, having v few responisibilities in life other than pleasing myself.

mulling a car change. And a dig camera purchase to help this blog. need to talk to my mate Nick to ask his opinion on camera thing. the car needs changing for lots of reasons - its too tied up with the murcky past for a start, on its own a good enough reason.

need to get some biscuits for work, where they are all just starting vintage - this is the wine industry we are talking about. its hard to communicate how unromantic the business end of it really is, so i wont try. but that isnt a problem if one is committed for whatever reason, like I was. just take my word for it. I just lost interest in drinking in general. mainly i think because of the influence of ahstanga yoga on me over the last couple of years. much more about that to come in this blog. suffice it to say, when i start this blog lots is changing for me, and yoga is a prime mover. in the language of recovering alcoholics (which I am not) it might be fair to say that right now my primary relationship is with ashtanga as an activity. sound strange to you? or not?